reflections of a pragmatic optimist, lover of freedom

Category: Liberty vs. Safety (Page 1 of 14)

The No Fear Pioneer, Episode 7: Extending the Frontier Cycle

My short-form podcast, The No Fear Pioneer, is back with a new episode, pursuing some key questions that have been on my mind: Can a frontier culture only thrive for a sustained interval where life is relatively hard? And are there ways we might be able to extend the flourishing of a newly opened frontier?

Join me for a 12-minute whirlwind exploration of related ideas in Episode 7: “Extending the Frontier Cycle”.

I’ve released this episode with new artwork that celebrates SpaceX’s Starship — the vehicle most likely to be our ride to Mars — and the tremendously exciting test launch, descent, and landing attempt of the SN8 prototype this past week. I’m looking forward with much excitement to seeing further developments in this visionary program.

The No Fear Pioneer Podcast Artwork

Our Future Out There

I’m working on plans to start publishing on this site again, with a renewed focus on the development of new frontiers. This will include resuming the No Fear Pioneer podcast and adding to the post series I titled “The Way Out”.

Development of commercial space capability has accelerated rapidly in recent years, and the resultant advances have been thrilling to watch, thanks in no small part to SpaceX’s relentless achievements and bold, inspiring, and impatient vision for our off-Earth future. I’ve been following developments in this area with tremendous interest and enthusiasm, and will aim do so some useful thinking and writing about the implications here — focusing on the great and exciting potentials for space colonization, but also exploring novel opportunities to open new frontiers, physical or virtual, here on Earth.

We live in an amazing time full of immense possibilities — greater, I think, than most realize. I’m particularly energized by the potential that new places and the challenges that go with them hold to rekindle our resilience and our hunger for adventure. I foresee places where, out of great difficulty, our long-lost sense of fun and playfulness will get to emerge again. Places where those who are willing to embrace risk will have the chance to know what an easy-going, free-wheeling approach to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness feels like, and where humanity’s tremendous potentials can be set free to great benefit.

The month alone featured a successful second Crew Dragon launch to the ISS, and a couple of textbook satellite launches with beautiful first-stage landings, and it now looks like next week will hold possibly the most exciting development yet: the first 15km test flight and re-landing of a Starship prototype. Elon Musk Tweeted yesterday:

Good Starship SN8 static fire! Aiming for first 15km / ~50k ft altitude flight next week. Goals are to test 3 engine ascent, body flaps, transition from main to header tanks & landing flip.

I’ll be watching for sure, and cannot wait to see it.

Meanwhile, for your inspiration and enjoyment and a reminder of the amazing future that I believe lies ahead of us, I’ll just leave these here for now:

9/11, Nineteen Years On

It’s a dramatically different world this year, in myriad ways that seem at once both obvious to all of us who have been muddling through them and too numerous to list. If there is any silver lining, perhaps it’s that large-scale foreign terrorism seems to have taken a pause, but only to be replaced by being terrorized by our fellow citizens in suspiciously coordinated violent and destructive rampages through our cities, while we simultaneously endure the combined threats of a viral pandemic, draconian lockdowns and ensuing economic hardships, and partly well-intentioned but nonetheless destructive abridgments of our freedom, autonomy, and ability to plan for the future.

I would not have remotely anticipated this new set of circumstances a year ago, nor I think could anyone. The world has given us an entirely new set of challenges to deal with, leaving prior battles that had seemed monumental and urgently important momentarily in the rearview mirror — on hiatus for now, I think, but not fundamentally solved nor gone. “2020” has come to eclipse “2001” in notoriety for the both sudden and sustained havoc it has wreaked, causing that former year of infamy to recede quietly into the past while our preoccupied minds have been mostly unaware it was happening.

It would be easy in this dramatically different time to forget what now seems like another era, disconnected from our present reality. But I will not, nor I think can we afford to. We have serious, unresolved issues related to the 9/11 attacks and the relative strength or weakness, unity or disunity of our resolve and response to them, that I expect will remain to be dealt with at some future date. Our cultural confidence and sense of self is being tested in different but not entirely unrelated ways for now, and the outcome of those present struggles is sure to have significant implications for our near-term future. While I remain resolved that we have worthwhile and important work to do rebuilding our cultural foundations in the here and now, my focus has of necessity also been on the larger long-term question of where we — as a frontier culture in need of new frontiers — will go from here. I have much more work to do on that, that’s been especially hard to make time for lately, but I have hope that determination and persistence will unite to make the necessary possible in the long run.

On this day, let us remember and honor the loved ones and fellow citizens we lost on that eerily clear September morning, as well as the “sheepdogs” and everyday heroes among us who ran toward danger and risked everything when called — on that day and in the days, weeks, months, and years that followed. Let us think on the resolve that is needed to maintain this Civilization of ours — this engine of well-being and sanctuary for people of good will — against persistent, determined forces that demand its submission, surrender, and subservience. May these hard times produce the resilient men and women we need, and may their efforts avert the self-inflicted decline that is, in the final sum, a greater danger than that any foreign enemy can hope to pose us. It’s going to take steady exertion and long-term dedication to the task, but I do believe a happy, resilient future waits to be claimed beyond this moment of gloom.

My Previous Years’ 9/11 Posts

2019: 9/11, Eighteen Years On

2018: 9/11, Seventeen Years On

2017: 9/11, Sixteen Years On

2016: 9/11, Fifteen Years On

2015: 9/11, Fourteen Years On ~ Fourteen Years Later: 9/11 Links

2014: 9/11, Thirteen Years On

2013: 9/11, Twelve Years On

2012: 9/11, Eleven Years On

2011: A Plea, Ten Years After: Please, Open Your Eyes ~ Ten Years Later: 9/11 Links

2010: 9/11: Two Songs

2009: Tomorrow is 9/11 ~ My Experience of September 11, 2001 ~ 9/11 Quotes

2008: 9/11, Seven Years On ~ 9/11, Seven Years On, Part 2 ~ 102 Minutes that Changed America

2007: 9/11, Six Years On

2006: Soon, Time Again to Reflect ~ 9/11 Observances ~ 9/11 Observances, Part 2

2005: I Remember

2004: Remembering and Rebuilding (republished here September 12th, 2014)

The World Trade Center Towers

The World Trade Center Towers

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